Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Sep 01, 2017  |  41 comments
It’s not an insult to call singer Lyn Stanley’s fourth album “formulaic”. Not when the formula includes bringing onboard some of today’s best studio and touring jazz musicians and arrangers, recording in the best studios and hiring the greatest engineers. Another part of the formula is the cover art: highly stylized, glamorous black and white photos of Lyn.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 29, 2017  |  24 comments
"Why buy vinyl cut from a file when you can buy the file itself?". That's easy! If you've worked to get your analog front end to sound glorious, magical and the way you want your records to sound and it sounds better to you than your unyielding, unadjustable digital box, you might have the answer.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 23, 2017  |  8 comments
Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond (Paul Emil Breitenfeld) best known for his work with Dave Brubeck made solo albums of greater musical consequence than his string-accented confection, including his duet album Two of A Mind (RCA LSP-2624) with Gerry Mulligan, also on RCA-Victor. Nonetheless, this album pleases every play.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 09, 2017  |  16 comments
A heavenly pairing of Bacharach's suburban pop melodic intent and Costello's insightful lyrics that well-capture the required Bacharach late afternoon bedroom melodrama produced this 1998 gem of a soap operatic collaboration.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 18, 2017  |  10 comments
The new reissue record label Run Out Groove recently launched with a limited to 2668 copy edition of a gloriously noisy, high energy MC5 compilation sourced from the group's Elektra and Atlantic catalogues. The Detroit-based group (The Motor City Five), which made music that was an invigorating amalgam of garage rock, punk rock and blues with a hint of progressive jazz thrown in, released but three full length albums during its less than a decade long run.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 18, 2017  |  3 comments
España is Chasing the Dragon's latest and most ambitious Direct-to-Disc record. It's difficult enough to record Direct-to-Disc a string ensemble, or a big band or a big band with vocalist, all of which the label has done successfully managed.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 09, 2017  |  9 comments
In the early 1960s Brazilian music washed up on American shores riding on an effervescent, sunlit wave of girls from Ipanema and up-tempo tunes like “Desafinado”, popularized by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd on the breakthrough album Jazz Samba.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 26, 2017  |  2 comments
Charles Lloyd's young group, together but a year, played this set September 8th 1966 at the Monterey Jazz Festival, opening with the title tune—actually the two-in-one "Forest Flower-Sunrise" and "Forest Flower-Sunset", both lilting, hypnotic and mesmerizing "hippie-like" tunes that presaged in its mood the next year's "Summer of Love" Monterey Pop Festival.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 26, 2017  |  21 comments
Bassist Scott LaFaro's death in a Geneva, New York car accident ten days after the Sunday, June 25th, 1961 recording of this Village Vanguard set did more than add a tragic luster to the story. It upended what might have been a very different track order here and on Waltz For Debby, the second record sourced using tracks recorded that day by engineer David Jones on a modified Ampex 350 using Scotch 111 tape.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 19, 2017  |  13 comments
With its compilation-like title, black and white cover art and wide ranging artists roster, The Sound of Jazz, originally issued in 1958, is often confused with one of Columbia Records' early stereo sampler albums.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 14, 2017  |  8 comments
In his annotation for Riverside’s 1966 reissue of the 1961 Jazzland original single LP release Monk & Coltrane (RS 390) critic Ira Gitler (who is credited for inventing the expression “sheets of sound” to describe the note cluster technique Coltrane devised during his short time playing with Monk) writes “Coltrane’s talent, set in such a fertile environment, bloomed like a hibiscus.”

Michael Fremer  |  May 09, 2017  |  34 comments
It all started as a misheard request for a condiment, Paul McCartney recollects in one of the introductions to the box's sumptuously produced book. During a flight back from America, the band's roadie Mal Evans asked Paul to "pass the salt and pepper", which he misheard as "Sergeant Pepper".

Michael Fremer  |  May 04, 2017  |  15 comments
Jerry Goldsmith's remarkable 84 minute, 54 second score for Star Trek The Motion Picture here in its entirety on vinyl for the first time is a musical and sonic spectacular that's far more exciting than was the movie itself. This is one film score you can definitely enjoy without having seen the movie.

Michael Fremer  |  May 03, 2017  |  7 comments
While a great deal of attention rightly gets paid to Bill Evans' legendary Village Vanguard recordings early in his career, this superb set recorded in Paris, France shortly before his passing is equally worthy both musically and sonically.

Michael Fremer  |  May 03, 2017  |  12 comments
Characterizing The Gilded Palace of Sin as a “country-rock” album or “the first country-rock album” or as it’s incorrectly called by some Sweetheart of The Rodeo Part 2 sells short an album that transcends genre or for that matter “dash-genres”.

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